La Confianza Ciega – a review

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La Confianza Ciega is a kaleidoscopic record.

That was the overpowering feeling that I had listening to the new offering from Venezuelan artist Algodón Egipcio. It is an ever-moving artwork that is complex in its rhythms, surprising in its direction and adventurous in its outcome.

At times, it transports you to a relaxing place of late-summer sunshine; at others, you feel as though you are caught up in a stomping riot of colour. His songs consist of several distinct moving parts, with some sections that are structured and others that are more chaotic. You might have a choral refrain, echoes of electro, a shot of Latin hip hop, deeply layered instrumental sections, verse and chorus overlapping to the hints of African and Caribbean beats.

It is synthetic, it is psychedelic and it is a true musical patchwork. This sensory overload can jar but there is respite to be found, especially with the cooling spray of “El Aliento” and “La Estrella Irregular”. It is a most surreal mix of wandering reverberations from an experimental and creative young artist.

The album has a heightened sense of the interconnected and fluid notes of nature, seen in the song names alone: “El Calor Específico”, “El Ciclo del Agua” and “Las Dunas Cantoras”. Into this group we can also place “Las Islas Feroe’, which stands out as the only song named after a specific setting: the windswept and mountainous North Atlantic archipelago.

However, on the whole, La Confianza Ciega is not rooted in one particular place, although Algodón Egipcio himself has hinted at an evocation of a ‘lost’ Caracas in some of the lyrics. The album drifts between moods and feelings rather than clearly delineated locations and genres. It is a refreshing record in its variety of musical flavours and overall sense of brightness: a bouncing parade of experimentation and a twinkling rainbow of sound.

This review also appeared on the Sounds and Colours website.

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Overflow – a review

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It starts in a madcap whirl of old-school R&B and London gospel, intertwined with spiralling Latin brass and percussion.

And by the time it comes to an end, nine songs later, the new album from Venezuelan artist Edwin Sanz leaves you gasping at its musical breadth, its daring enterprise, its global depth.

Overflow is an apt name when you bear in mind the three major threads that dominate the record: the range of genres; the complexity of the experimental covers and new numbers; and the galloping Latin heartbeat.

This is tight, roaring fare. Salsa, cumbia and merengue mixed with British church classics. Trumpet solos, major orchestral pieces and Santana-esque wail-blasts of electric guitar.

The third number is a rework of Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ regularly-covered “I Put A Spell On You”. It is a belting Latin alarm-call kicked off with domineering and haunting female vocals. The influence of Stevie Wonder comes through strongly in “Something About You”. The cowbells are still trilling away, but this number shows Sanz’s skill when it comes to soul and slow funk.

With “Eres Tú”, we get back to the Latin heritage. It is a typical salsa serenade with a group refrain and a lead male singer, who is classically and deferentially romantic. Songs such as “Cómo Olvidar” are more traditional yet at other junctures on the album he offers gear-shift alterations to the Latin norm: just under two minutes into “Ella” there is a sudden acceleration from a slow-dance romance to a fire of slick salsa.

Overflow is a bilingual album chock-full of international influences and appearances from world artists. The first lines of the opening song are “From New York to Caracas, from LA to the UK”. Sanz has noted how his musical career has been shaped by his time studying and playing in the US and Europe. But though his music has adapted and developed across time and countries he shows his commitment to the land of his birth throughout the album, notably with the final track “Yo Vengo de Venezuela”, a colourful celebration of that country’s rich musical history.

This review also appeared on the Sounds and Colours website.